The musical landscape has changed dramatically since the 1989 edition of MTV’s Video Music Awards, when Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora took the stage to perform an acoustic version of Wanted: Dead or Live…effectively serving as the foundation for MTV Unplugged. Sticking with their new programming philosophy of looking to the past to build a more diverse future, MTV announced that the popular Unplugged franchise would be returning this fall.
Singer Shawn Mendes (Nothing Holdin’ Me Back) will perform on the premiere episode from the Theater at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles; with MTV Unplugged: Shawn Mendes scheduled to air on September 8th.
For Mendes, finding ways to rearrange his songs in a manner that fits the setting on Unplugged isn’t easy…but as an artist, he more than understands the benefits that can result from it creatively:
“We’ve been working our asses off just trying to figure out the most beautiful way to play these songs in a smaller, stripped-down way that still feels as impactful. I feel like if I can do this right, then it will be a moment for me — where people can really understand and see me as a musician and a singer, and where I’m coming from.”
MTV Unplugged was seen as successfully connecting with fan for two main reasons: fans were given the opportunity to see their favorite artists perform their favorite songs in a much more intimate and stripped-down way; and most performances usually included and unexpected cover song or two. Unplugged would air regularly from 1989-1999, and semi-frequently from 2000 until today. Over the course of the show’s nearly 30-year run, viewers were treated to performances from artists diverse as Nirvana, Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Tony Bennett, Mariah Carey, Lil Wayne, and Adele.
MTV Unplugged: Shawn Mendes is being produced by Den of Thieves, with Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager serving as executive producers; along with Chris Choun, Lee Lodge and Jen Jones. The MTV Unplugged series was created by Robert Small and Jim Burns, and is executive produced by Garrett English with Vanessa Whitewolf producing.